What are Sweden’s priorities on chemicals in context of the European Green Deal?

Peter Holdorf

Sweden is a key Member State when it comes to shaping EU environmental and chemicals policy. The annual report on Sweden’s progress on its environment objectives gives some clues about what the country’s priorities might be at the EU level.

On chemicals, the main headline is that: “Sweden will not meet its non-toxic environment target by 2030”.

Despite not keeping to the initial timeline, Sweden is continuing to work towards non-toxic products, for instance by improving information systems on classified substances and introducing electronic product passports.

The report highlights the potential of the European Green Deal initiatives in improving the state of the environment with major initiatives that will impact on production and use of chemicals, such as the new Circular Economy Action Plan and the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability. It is clear that Sweden has high hopes and ambitions for the European Green Deal.

Sweden points out that the knowledge gaps on waste and chemicals must be addressed, specifically looking at combination effects of different chemicals, nanomaterials and how to address them in the current risk management framework and pharmaceuticals in the environment.

In line with these issues, Sweden has also recently proposed a chemicals tax on textiles, which aims to reduce the environmental impact of the textiles industry.

This will also play into the broader agenda of the transition to a circular economy, by ensuring the safety of secondary raw materials and reducing the presence of legacy chemicals.

Although the headline target of a ‘non-toxic environment’ is not due to be achieved on schedule, Sweden clearly remains one of the most ambitious EU Member States on chemicals regulation.

Keeping an eye on what’s happening in Sweden will help you be prepared for some of the initiatives that may be launched under the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability.

The FH Brussels Environment and Chemicals team gives you some of the headlines in this report.